Stevens Takes Stand, Denies Shady Deals

Alaska senator rebuffs charges he got free construction work
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 16, 2008 5:39 PM CDT
Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and his daughters Beth Stevens, left, and Susan Covich, arrive at federal court in Washington, Wednesday Oct. 15, 2008.    (Jose Luis Magana)
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(Newser) – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens took the stand today in his own defense and denied scheming to hide $250,000 in home improvements and other gifts from a corrupt businessman. When asked by his lawyer whether he thought his Senate disclosure forms were accurate when he signed them, the Alaska political patriarch replied, "Yes, sir." He then responded with a soft "No, sir" when asked whether he had hidden any gifts.

Stevens, 84, was the final witness in his defense against charges that he lied on financial disclosure forms to conceal improvements to his chalet and other gifts from Bill Allen, a longtime friend and former chief of the oil services company VECO Corp. Stevens, told by the judge that he didn't have to testify, replied that it was a "privilege and a duty."